On August 18, more than 1,000 women racers gathered at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis for the Sixth Annual YWCA Women’s Triathlon. Cheered on by 4,000 fans and spectators and supported by more than 400 volunteers, the women set some seriously fast course records and came out in record numbers to race with friends and training partners in the popular Relay and Buddy Wave option.
Veteran race champion Claire Bootsma was fourth out of the lake but quickly made up the difference and took the lead on the bike course, leaving no question that she showed up prepared to dominate with a first place finishing time that was nearly three minutes ahead of Stephanie Solfelt and Katherine Schlaefer, the second- and third-place finishers. No less driven by the competition, Stephanie was in fourth place after the bike course and dug deep to run down both Katherine and Catherine Lee, who finished fourth overall.
Out of the 360 women racing in their very first triathlon, Jennie Friedrich (Saint Peter, Minnesota), Emy Everhart (St. Paul, Minnesota) and Alicia Jack (Minnetonka, Minnesota) took the top three finisher spots for newbies, and also placed fourth, fifth and seventh respectively in their 30-34 age group. Alicia also put up the fastest run split of all the racers that day. Alicia is the daughter of the late Toni St. Pierre and showed the talent her mother always brought to the YWCA Women’s Triathlon course as well. All of Toni’s children received a recognition award from the YWCA of Minneapolis on behalf of Toni and her contributions to women’s sports. The award for most improved performance at the race is now renamed the Toni St. Pierre Memorial Award for the Most Improved Triathlete. Read more about Toni’s amazing history and the award.
Anne Grabowsky showed a stellar performance on the bike, leading the pack with the top split, averaging 23.8 mph and finishing second behind Ann Snuggerud in their 45-49 age group. Overall, Ann Snuggerud and Ellie Snuggerud took top honors in the mother-daughter team category, while Sadie and Claire Sigford clinched first place among sister-sister teams and Helen Garcia and Leah Whiteker won the life partner category.
We’re not surprised that accomplished triathlete Judy Rykken won her 75-59 age group, but what’s even more impressive is that she ranks 16 out of 33 for women over the age of 60, some of whom are 15 years her junior! Judy, you inspire us every year so please don’t ever stop racing! Read more about Judy on our blog.
This year, more women than ever before raced on relay teams — a great way to dip your toe into the multi-sport waters without having to tackle all three sports on your own — and 379 women opted to race as a pair, trio, or larger group in the fabulous and fun Buddy Wave. Queued up after the age-group waves, the Buddy Wave has a distinct reputation for attracting racers who reportedly have the most fun while out on the course.
One buddy group, dubbing themselves Fun, Fabulous and Fifty (at top of page), committed to each other at a high school reunion in December to do the YWCA Women’s Triathlon together this year as they were all turning 50 years old.
Second-time triathlete Andrea Bidelman placed 14th in her 40-44 age group, outperforming her rookie race last year. After finishing the race, Andrea shared, “I just finished my second YWCA triathlon! It was awesome! It was hard! I was really nervous about the bike, and it went okay. I think my run and swim times were better than last year, so I’m really happy about that. And I relied a great deal on my training this time — to motivate myself, to push myself. I’m thrilled to be done and will hopefully be back next year!” As part of her training, Andrea shot and narrated a seven-part video blog designed to help women preparing for their first race. Meet Andrea and view the rest of her video blog posts, detailing her experience from registration through race day.
Other non-racing records were also set this year: volunteers and trash! More than 400 enthusiastic and smiling volunteers ensured that racers were taken care of and that race logistics were managed smoothly. Additionally, the YWCA Women’s Triathlon strives to be environmentally responsible and adopt sustainable practices. This year, the race had a record diversion rate this year at 95.38%. That means the race only generated 29.4 pounds of trash compared to 607.9 pounds of compost, recycling, cardboard and plastic. Thanks to diligent racers, spectators and volunteers for keeping a huge amount of waste out of the landfill this year!
One of the unique awards for the YWCA Women’s Triathlon is to honor those women who improve the most from one year to the next. The award has been named in memory of Toni St. Pierre. The YWCA of Minneapolis is honored to acknowledge the pivotal role Toni played nationally and historically in women’s sports. Toni inspired generations of female athletes along with YWCA of Minneapolis community. She was a long-time fitness member and annual competitor in the YWCA Women’s Triathlon. Read more information about the award and Toni here.
Most Improved Overall:
Name, Percentage Improvement
Most Improved in Each Age Group:
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Minnefota Moments photos
2013 race photos have been posted!
Our Official Race Photographer is Minnefota Moments. Visit minnefotamoments.com to find your photos. The most economical option for racers is to order an email digital version for $10. You can also get 5x7s and 6x8s for $12, while 8x10s and CDs are $15.